Have you ever invested your time counseling someone (outside of your family) who would really benefit from your knowledge and experience?
When you see the results of your efforts pay off in the success that that person achieves in whatever you spent your time helping them with, it is one of life’s most treasured moments.
In their success, you have the voyeuristic experience of watching how your thoughts and efforts help them to find the courage, or discipline, or focus, or determination to make whatever they were hoping to accomplish, come to fruition.
As Shannon so aptly states, we are all struggling souls, trying to find our way around planet Earth. Some days we win, and others, we lose. Continually refining our approach, process, plan and expectations so that we may better find our path to the goals we have set for ourselves.
So in our own personal struggle, where is the core value in expending part of our own energy into helping another? Outside of the expected answer to this rhetorical question, the unseen variable is that when you teach something to another, you actually learn it better yourself, for in the act of teaching, you come closer to mastery of the topic you are teaching. Admittedly there are holes in that theory. But the reality is that taking the time to communicate something to another, creates a catharsis within ourselves.
This is similar to what happens in a brainstorm (which in many cases is what you are doing with the struggling person whom you are counseling). In a brainstorm, the process of discussing the thoughts with another creates a different pattern in your brain. I use this process at The Illusion Factory daily. And it never ceases to amaze me what I have taught myself in the course of explaining my ideas to one of my collaborators. First, the art of articulating an intangible thought, is an abstract experience in which the glimmer of an idea is dressed with sentences that take it from a shimmering thought into sentences. This may actually seem esoteric to you in reading it, but in the process of doing it, you find yourself growing something in the discussion…. AND… when your collaborator responds with their feedback (positive or negative) your mind starts to make new leaps and associations with other variables and suddenly the catharsis of the learning experience expands exponentially.
If you understand how this works in your own mind, it better facilitates your ability to counsel others to their own growth. Part of the exercise requires cautious use of language. Never phrase your statements as judgements. Instead, preface any thought you might have that is controversial to their opinion with statements like… Have you considered what might happen if….. or….. What’s the possibility of _____ happening if you chose to do this? By changing your approach from an authoritarian angle… saying things like: You should, or…. You have to…. Or… using an insult like… You would be a fool to…. To a questioning approach, you enable the receiving party to make the knowledge leap you are hoping to achieve and when they make the leap for themselves, they own it. And when they own it, it lasts longer and usually sticks so that they may act upon it.
There are all forms of beauty in life. Personally, I see beauty in people who are desirous of being truly kind, nurturing, supportive and appreciative of the things in life that matter.
Hope this Monday launches your week into a great new chapter of success!